The Castle Of Otranto Analysis

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The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel written by Horace Walpole, this novel is regarded as the first gothic novel and is seen as the beginning of the gothic genre. Walpole was not only famed for The Castle of Otranto but also for creating the word ‘serendipity’. The gothic genre became extremely popular and paved the way for great authors such as Bram Stoker, Charles Maturin, Edgar Alan Poe and Ann Radcliffe. Walpole was fascinated with medieval history which is what inspired him to write a gothic novel. The Castle of Otranto tells the tale of Manfred, Prince of Otranto, and his young son Conrad. Manfred has convinced the guardians of the beautiful Isabella, whose parents are presumed dead, to marry his sickly son Conrad who is just 15. A series…show more content…
From the outset of the novel we are horrified by the untimely death of Manfred’s son Conrad, the circumstances which kill him are shocking and here we get our first taste of the sublime at play. ‘Oh, the helmet! the helmet!’(Solider, The Castle of Otranto .Page 18) Conrad had been ‘almost buried under an enormous helmet’ (The Castle of Otranto. Page 18). Onlookers ‘shrieked in horror and surprise’ (The Castle of Otranto. Page 18) at the sight of Conrad’s dead body but it is the reaction of his father Manfred that captures the sheer terror of this ordeal. ‘The horror of the spectacle, the ignorance of all around how this misfortune happened…’ (The Castle Of Otranto. Page 18) Manfred consumed by his emotions at the sight of his dead son ‘buried in meditation on the stupendous object that had occasioned it’ (The Castle of Otranto. Page 19). During this horrific Manfred is distraught yet he is captivated by the helmet that killed his son, a key example of the sublime. The onlookers of the courtyard were in disbelief at Manfred’s reaction ‘their prince’s insensibility’ (The Castle of Otranto. Page19) he seemed more concerned about the object that killed his son. Fear and curiosity have consumed Manfred. The unknown and the possibility impending danger on perhaps his own life has spiralled Manfred in a rollercoaster of pain and pleasure, pain at…show more content…
In a scene where Manfred is forcefully offering himself to the beautiful Isabella, ‘cannot give you my son, I offer you myself…’ (The Castle Of Otranto. Page 24). This emotional scene is frightening for Isabelle and tensions are high as Manfred forces himself upon her, when suddenly ‘when the moon, which was now up, and gleamed in at the opposite casement, presented to his sight the plumes of the fatal helmet, which rose to the height of the windows, waving backwards and forwards in a tempestuous manner’. ’ (The Castle Of Otranto. Page 24) this supernatural occurrence shifts the mood of the scene and the novel. The element of supernatural only increase the theory of the sublime. Isabella is trying to resist Manfred’s intentions and declares ‘Look my lord! See heaven itself declares against your impious intentions!’ (The Castle Of Otranto. Page 24) in that moment the portrait of Manfred’s grandfather ‘uttered a deep sigh and heaved its breast’ (The Castle of Otranto. Page 25) Manfred is in denial and so hell bound on having Isabella he does not believe his eyes, or rather he does not want to believe. ‘are the devils themselves in a league against me?’ (Manfred. The Castle Of Otranto. Page 25). This ordeal is terrifying yet curiosity takes over as to why supernatural forces are against Manfred. A light descends upon the dark scene, a delirious Manfred is terrified yet curious and exclaims
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